Juventus leave Celtic hopes in tatters with 3-0 win

GLASGOW (AFP) - Juventus all but clinched their place in the last eight of the Champions League after a clinical display from the Italian champions earned them a 3-0 win over Celtic at Parkhead here on Tuesday.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon surprised everyone before kick-off as he handed Efe Ambrose a starting place despite the defender playing in Nigeria's Africa Cup of Nations final win over Burkina Faso on Sunday.

But the gamble went horribly wrong with the defender at fault for two of Juve's deadly away goals.

Celtic got off to a nightmare start when Ambrose was caught out by the flight of Federico Peluso's long ball in the third minute, allowing Alessandro Matri to get in behind him and fire the ball over the line despite Kelvin Wilson's desperate attempted clearance on the line.

The Hoops then showed the intensity they had produced to pick up a famous win over Barcelona in the group stages as they laid siege to the Juve goal, with Victor Wanyama and Kris Commons both testing Gianluigi Buffon with strikes.

But the Italians weathered the storm and increased their lead in the 77th minute when Marchisio smashed past a shot past Fraser Forster.

Mirko Vucinic finished low through Forster's legs in the 83rd minute after Ambrose had been caught in possession by Marchisio as Juventus ended any remaining Celtic hopes.

Things could have been different for the home side, however.

Celtic had forced a corner within 60 seconds as Buffon pushed a thunderous strike from Wanyama round the post, and Ambrose then tried his luck with a long-range strike that went harmlessly wide as the hosts swarmed forward in the early stages.

But their good work quickly came undone as a lapse of concentration from Ambrose allowed Matri to give Juve a third-minute lead.

Celtic rallied after the goal and Buffon had to be alert to stop a fiercely-drilled Wanyama strike from 25 yards.

The SPL leaders continued to press forward and Kris Commons was inches away from an audacious equaliser in the 28th minute when his overhead kick from Mikael Lustig's cross bounced just wide with Buffon beaten.

Ambrose missed a golden chance to atone for his lapse at the Juve goal at the hour mark when Charlie Mulgrew's cross from the left found him lurking in the box, but the Nigerian sent his weak header bouncing into the turf and straight to the grateful Buffon.

Juventus looked content to defend deep and hit Celtic on the counter-attack but they served the home side a warning in the 66th minute when Vucinic connected perfectly with a cross from the left and Wilson brilliantly blocked his shot in the six-yard box.

The home side didn't heed the warning, though, and Juventus grabbed a killer second with a well-worked goal.

Matri flicked a pass into the path of Marchisio, who cut inside Scott Brown and smashed a shot beyond Forster at his near post.

Ambrose had only arrived back in Glasgow from South Africa early on Tuesday morning, but the Celtic fans must have been wishing he had missed his flight when he was again at fault as the visitors landed a knock-out blow.

Marchisio caught the defender in possession and played an excellent through ball to Vucinic, who clipped the ball through the legs of the helpless Forster.

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